Rose Drawers

More pretty things made by Freya! This time three small drawers:

 

Gadgets

Since I didn’t really plan to cancel my Vodafone subscription, I took advantage of this “contract extension” offer they had and upgraded my mobile phone to a Nokia N85. I also upgraded my subscription to Vodafone SuperFlat Internet, which is more or less what I was already paying so far for my previous plan anyway. The change is that now you have “flatrate” internet. It’s not exactly a real flatrate, after 1GB monthly traffic they throttle your connection down to 64kbps, but it’s more then enough for my needs.

Of course, you can’t get the N85 for 1 euro, like other mobile phones included in subscriptions, but overall the price was decent. This went into the “Christmas present” category, so I guess that’s it for this year ;-)

That’s the phone, images taken from Nokia’s website since I didn’t get to take my own pictures. It’s a slider phone and I had some reservations about this but I thought I’d try it anyway.  It’s a pretty big difference compared to my previous Nokia E51. I won’t list all the features because you can easily view them all on Nokia’s website but 3 features impressed me the most.

One is the Active Matrix OLED (AMOLED) display which has to be seen to be believed. The next one is USB Charging (less cables = good !) and the last one is the built-in accelerometer. Overall I am pretty pleased with it. Of course, as with any new gadget there are little quirks but I am still deciding whether I should whine about them or just accept them and find workarounds. Time will tell!

Now let’s talk about failed gadgets, because there are some of those too. My Plantronics Voyager 520 bluetooth headset had a small mishap, the rubber thingy which goes around the ear detached itself. The headset still being under warranty, I just opened a case on Plantronics website and requested a new one. I just had to send the broken one to them (they paid for the shipping) and 10 days latter I had a brand new headset. Plantronics has excellent support.

The next failed gadget is not mine. The display of Freya’s cute little Nokia 5310 phone gave up. The phone itself seemed to be working but the screen was blank. Since it was still under warranty I just took it to the nearest Nokia Care center. Initially the guy said it will be fixed in 3 hours but he kinda under estimated the problem. Still, after 3 days I got an SMS from them saying that it’s repaired and that I can pick it up. I hope that’s the case, I will check on friday when I am back home.

New week

Yeah, this is what the weather looks like these days. It’s rainy, not warm and not nice. Not much is happening otherwise, the weather kinda makes you lame and you have to force yourself to get something done. I feel like sleeping the whole day.

In the meantime I am still studying for my CCIP certification, I plan on taking the MPLS+BGP exam sometime at the end of the year. I set up some gns3/dynamips labs at home and it’s going well.

I want vacation ;-)

Summer is gone, life goes on

Unfortunately the warm days of the summer are gone. I still see sunny days every now and then but it’s cold and we’re starting here to have temperatures below 0 during the night. We didn’t even have much of an autumn, it kinda jumped directly to winter. Don’t know if I should be happy or not about that, I am not crazy about autumn either, at least not about the rainy part anyway.

At work it’s still kinda ok. Besides the fact that I  have to go back and forth each week, the project is interesting, challenging and gives me the chance to work with technologies not easily available in most other places. It’s a great place to learn things and I would say it’s the perfect working environment to be in if you’re studying for CCIE, the Holy Grail of Cisco Certifications (Service Provider part).

Which is exactly what a couple of my colleagues are doing but it’s not easy at all. This is one exam (a 8-hour lab actually) where it’s not enough to just know stuff, you have to know it perfectly and be able to work fast because you are constantly under time pressure. And trust me, it’s not cheap at all, you end up with thousands and thousands of euros invested in books, rack rentals, boot camps, the lab itself, etc.  Needless to say, this is hardly doable without the support of your company. And on top of that, the pass rate is very low. It is said that less than 10% of people taking the lab pass it the first time. On average, one needs 3-4 attempts to pass it. Kinda bad, eh ?

I am probably at the stage where I could attempt it but I really have no time for it, not when I am gone most of the time. Maybe later. I will just focus on other professional certification in the meanwhile.

Vacation is coming at the end of the year, which is something I am looking forward to. Probably we won’t go anywhere but some time at home is not bad either. Speaking of vacation, there is one thing that annoys me at my company. They ask us to give a vacation plan for the whole next year. I have 28 days of vacation and I have to plan them ALL one year in advance. I can understand their point of view in a way, that they need some kind of overview when people are gonna be gone, but I still think it’s very weird. How am I supposed to know what I will do in one year ? Something might come up and you might need to change the dates but you can be shit out of luck if someone else in your team has it planned in that time.

They say that this is just for “planning purposes” and that you can change it but we all know that once you turn it in, it’s pretty much fixed, there is no change because you most likely conflict with someone else. I didn’t use to have this in my former company but it was a bit easier there I guess, less people in our department so less chances of conflicts.

And at the end, something unrelated. I came upon a very interesting article from cracked.com: “7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable” (via). It’s a bit long’ish but it’s well worth it.

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